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July 12, 2013  |   Comments (6)   |   Post a comment

School bus driver arrested for DWI after route

By Thomas McMahon


GENESEO, N.Y. — After driving a summer school bus route on Monday morning, Manon Coyne went to a house where police happened to be responding to a case of alcohol poisoning and drug possession.

According to the Livingston County Sheriff's Office, Coyne, 47, was observed driving and was found to be intoxicated. Further investigation revealed that she had just transported five Geneseo Central School District students to their first day of summer school, although they arrived safely.

Coyne was arrested and charged with five counts of felony driving while intoxicated (DWI), a single count of aggravated DWI and five additional counts of endangering the welfare of a child. She allegedly had a blood alcohol content of .24%.

The school bus driver was placed on unpaid administrative leave, pending district disciplinary procedures.

In a statement, Livingston Undersheriff James Szczesniak commended Geneseo Superintendent Timothy Hayes and his staff for "the quick response and assistance in assuring that all students had arrived safely at the schools. The communication between the Sheriff's Office and school allowed all family members to be quickly assured that the safety of the children is the true priority."

In the original incident at the house, a 49-year-old man was transported to a hospital with alcohol poisoning. While at the residence, deputies discovered a quantity of narcotics and arrested a 19-year-old woman.

In response to Coyne's arrest, the New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) issued a statement denouncing the driver's alleged conduct.

"If all the charges are proven true, her actions were inexcusable and put the lives of the children on her school bus at risk, and that is unacceptable to us," the association said.

NYAPT has called for increased testing and observation of school bus drivers and has endorsed legislation that would provide for such enhanced testing protocols. The association's position calls for greater frequency and sampling of school bus driver tests as well as ensuring that sufficient and qualified management is available to administer random tests and daily observations.

"Pending local investigation, it is not clear that these changes would have prevented the events in Geneseo, but we continue to believe that more preventive measures are needed to bolster our efforts to keep our children safe at all times," NYAPT said. "We regret the events in Geneseo but believe it is important to reassure the public, especially our parents and students, that the school bus remains the absolute safest way to transport our children to school."

In May, officials from NYAPT and the New York School Bus Contractors Association provided testimony in a state Senate hearing on a proposal to mandate alcohol ignition interlocks on school buses. Both associations opposed the bill but recommended other efforts to prevent DWI.

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While this is, indeed, a very sad thing we drivers just need to stay the course and prove that we are caring people and that 99.9 % of us DO NOT do such a careless and selfish thing. I agree that this report tarnishes our industry but we need to remember that "one bad apple don't spoil the whole bunch" and make sure the public knows this!

Melanie    |    Jul 17, 2013 08:46 AM

This driver tarnished her name not the industry. I would believe that this is a very isolated incident. School buses are the safest mode of transportation in the country. This did not happen by luck, it happens from great training, supervision, driver dedication and education etc.

Brian    |    Jul 17, 2013 07:39 AM

I have been in the school bus industry nearly 24 years, 16 of those years training some of the most remarkable people I've ever met. We, in the industry know the enormous responsibility we undertake once behind the wheel of a bus. Even the slightest mistake can have a lifetime impact on the families and loved ones of the children we transport, because that small mistake can cost lives. Of the millions of miles traveled by school buses, our safety record is second to none, but when there is a tragedy, it is not just reported on the local news, or even the national news. It becomes international news! To breach the faith entrusted in us is incredulous. And to be so far gone as to knowingly transport other peoples children while under the influence of anything is unforgivable. But Cheryl, this driver tarnished only her name, not the entire industry. There are too many intelligent, dedicated and responsible people involved in the pupil transportation industry and millions of parents and guardians around this country who still know that their children are being transported in the safest mode on earth! I am, and always have been so proud that I chose this as my career!

Jo Ann    |    Jul 16, 2013 12:18 PM

If this accusation is true, they should throw the book at her and get her some much needed help. I am also in the transportation business, with one of my responsibilities being to do the randoms and test for cause. Hopefully, this is an isolated incidence. In our district, the drivers care about their kids and in my 20 years, I have only had to test two drivers because of cause that were, indeed, intoxicated. (tested before their runs). Amen Cheryl and David - you are awesome!! Thanks to all the great drivers out there that really care and give 100% of themselves to the safe transportation of our future!!

Kriss    |    Jul 16, 2013 12:00 PM

I amen that Cheryl .Im a driver in Canada.First Student Love my Kidos

David    |    Jul 15, 2013 11:07 AM

As a school bus driver, I am so tired of stupid people tarnishing our name. WHY on Gods green earth do drivers do such stupid, careless, reckless, and abhorable behavior while transporting the most important commodity this world has! I just shake my head and thank God for the multitudes of safe and caring school bus drivers who DO do their job safely and efficiently.

Cheryl    |    Jul 15, 2013 09:14 AM

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